Pay attention, California.

 

It's hard to grow much in the desert, yet Sundrop Farm still manages to produce 15,000 tons of tomatoes annually. But wait, there's more: they don't use any soil or groundwater, either.

Sundrop Farm's secret is that they pump water from the ocean into a desalination plant that takes the salt out. (Before anyone raises their hand, the plant is solar-powered to avoid burning fossil fuels for energy.) The nice thing about seawater is that it cleans the air, so the tomato plans in their greenhouses don't need to be treated with chemicals. And to avoid using soil, Sundrop Farm grows all of its plans inside of coconut husks. The entire farm probably wastes less fossil fuel than you do. 

Of course, desalination is costly; the entire greenhouse set-up cost roughly $200 million, a price tag most farmers probably can't afford. But Sundrop Farm CEO Philipp Saumweber argues that regular greenhouses are more expensive to run when you factor in the cost of fossil fuels. 

Saumweber is confident that Sundrop represents the future of farming; so much so, that he plans to open similar greenhouses in the United States and Portugal next. (All we can say is, please bring one of these to California.)

(h/t New Scientist)